Using the Power of Our Intelligence--Interviews with John Trudell, Bad Dog
Distrusting political sedatives; on 'belieiving' and not thinking things through; understanding the words we use; clear and coherent speaking; technolgic industrial perceptions vs. responsibility; all people are descendants of tribes whose memories have been erased...Read more from this 'Bad Dog' Lakota dude, from 2 relatively recent interviews I found on the Net.
Of late he's been labeled with an emotionally-potent oversimplification, despite more than 30 years of putting his life on the line for Left-leaning, American Indian ideas. Despite his family (including his 3 young daughters) being killed in a very suspicious fire less than 12 hours after he led a demonstration heatedly attacking the lie of law in the u.s. at the f.b.i. headquarters. Despite truth after truth of realities of living a life and speaking truths of the most excellent kind of integrity.
And now a growing action, including writers volunteering with Earthfirst! magazine, are advocating that you, dear reader, turn on your heels like "good" Leftists, and blanketly ignore not only the messenger, but his message. A message likely "too radical" for those who have dibs in perpetuating the superficiality that passes for today's brand of "radical" awareness and response to the insanity of those who hold us in their chain-of-command "freedom" corralls, and thus it must be "neutralized" (to use the language of those who make domestic war on us all).
Those who are dutiful, turn away and do not read on. Go back to merely lambasting today's symbolic figurehead... And those who wonder a little, do take a peek, even a read. You'll be surprised:
"We have a whole society of people running around feeling powerless while they destroy themselves because they have been programmed to use their intelligence against themselves."--John Trudell below
2 interview excerpts with John Trudell (JT), Lakota Indian
1st source (second source below) :
VM: According to some of the things you say, Americans simultaneously suspect their government, yet think it is doing good deeds around the world with its promotion of democracy. What do you think of this dichotomy?
JT: Out of the large mass of American people--it doesn't matter if it's the right or the left or the in-between-none of them really trust the government [He laughs]. But they believe in it. That says something coherent is not happening here. The other part of the problem is that the American people are trapped in their beliefs. But in reality, "believe" means, "I don't know." "I believe" sedates the intelligence. If you believe, you don't think. But since birth--through religion, politics, and education--we were taught to believe. We were never taught to seek knowledge and understanding. We were taught to absorb the data and believe it.
"I came to distrust politics because I think they get in the way of communication," Trudell said. "I think through culture and art I can more effectively communicate about the reality of who we are [as human beings."
VM: Do you think words can ever replace violence as the dominant discourse in our world?
JT: I think [they] can play a role in it. But only clear and coherent use of our intelligence can replace violence. If we understand the words we are using, then we can replace violence. It's our thinking process. Whatever our words we engage in, they're a result of our thinking process. We live under this banner of "freedom of speech." It's not really about "freedom of speech." It's about freethinking and responsibility of speech. If we think clearly and coherently then we will fulfill the responsibility of spoken word. People say a lot of words but they don't appear to be well thought out. It's just a lot of emotional, reactionary-ism taking place in society right now.
VM: What must the indigenous people do to help themselves?
JT: The same thing the non-indigenous people have to do and that's to use our intelligence clearly and coherently and respect our intelligence.
VM: Is there more urgency for the oppressed to use their intelligence?
JT: There is urgency for it because that's the only way out. The only way out for any of us is to use our individual--which leads to collective--intelligence clearly and coherently and try that as a source of power. Rather than economic, political and religious mechanisms, let's try understanding the power of our intelligence. We have a whole society of people running around feeling powerless while they destroy themselves because they have been programmed to use their intelligence against themselves. We have to take the responsibility. Life isn't about freedom, life's about responsibility. When we understand that, we will be free.
hope a sedative word
If we look at the last 40 years," Trudell says, "obviously the public has not been using its intelligence clearly and coherently, or the reality would be different."
>You talk a lot about reality and its definition...
Well reality's an interesting thing. I think we live in a spiritual reality. I think we are matter, or physical things, in a spiritual reality, and within that spiritual reality there are many, many realities. For every individual that lives on the earth, they have their own perception of reality. To keep it what makes it coherent to me, we live in a spiritual reality, and within that spiritual reality our purpose in life is to maintain a balance and to take care of the future. The only way we can take care of the future is by taking care of the past. And we take care of the past by how we take care of today.
>And that means taking responsibility?
That's exactly right. That spiritual reality is based upon responsibility. Religious realities are not spiritual. The religious reality that exists in these technolgic industrial perceptions are not about responsibility, they're about authoritarianism and guilt and sin and blame, domination and submission. They're not about responsibility. Look at the situation and condition that the world is in and you can tell that they're not about responsibility. They accumulate wealth, they create their own authoritarian systems, they use their authoritarian systems and accumulated wealth to influence economic and political decisions that get made. They use their resources, they use their authority and accumulated wealth to influence military decisions that get made. Every behavior they have is really and truly not about responsibility.
>In other words, by being authoritarian, what you do is you take the responsibility away from the people and then the people feel there's no need to take responsibility because somebody else is doing it for them?
Well they feel disconnected. They don't really know what the meaning of responsibility is.
>Do you think that's one of the biggest challenges facing the human race?
Yeah, actually I do. It may be the biggest one. Becoming reconnected to reality.
What would be a way for somebody to do that? I guess it comes right down to the individual.
For an individual to take responsibility, because the individual leads to the collective, for an individual to take responsibility, I think we should always tell ourselves the truth. We should never lie to ourselves. Some of the most dangerous lies are the lies of rationalization and justification. We should always tell ourselves the truth. We should always be real with ourselves, even if our truths are glorious or shameful. Even if it's things we do that we don't like doing, we should always be truthful to ourselves about what we're doing. Because if we cannot be real to ourselves, then we will not be real in the world. And that's just the way it is.
>That seems to be what your whole purpose is or what you're all about, trying to teach people that kind of concept or view.
It's interestiing that you put it that way. I don't know if I'm trying to teach people that. I'm trying to learn it myself. I try to get on the stage to learn it. But you see, we need to think. We really need to think about what's going on. We need to use our intelligence in an intelligent way. We're not being programmed to use our intelligence intelligently.
We're all prisoners of the misperceived reality. So yeah, the more and more I see "freedom and democracy" manifest itself within this society, the more and more everyday life turns into minimum or medium security custody.
>I wondered on your thoughts about Native American spirituality. What are whites seeking when they explore American Indian spirituality? What's the draw?
I think they're trying to find their own memory. Because remember, everybody on the earth is a descendant of a tribe, even the whites. If you go back far enough in their ancestral history, they come from tribes. But the way technologic civilization works is it erases the memory. The civilizing process is to erase the tribal memory or the ancestral memory. So if you look at most Caucasian people, they don't even remember their Great Grandparents. Or if they're the Mormons, they got this lineage thing stashed away somewhere where they can follow them by name all the way back to wherever, but they don't know anything about them. They don't know what their spiritual perceptions of reality were. They don't know their practices, how they lived with the earth. They know none of that, so they have none of that memory.
"...when we look at the non-native people here, remember they all came from tribes. And the civilizing process took that memory away from them. So it happened 3000 years ago. Now we've been put into that same process, but we've been in it for 500 years. So if we can keep our identity, our spiritual identity, if we can keep our identity as human beings, then we'll be okay. But if we can't keep that identity, then we'll go the way of the descendants of the tribes of Europe. The future will be decided by what kind of coherency we pass to the next generation."
The human being has been given protection, has been given medicine, has been given a means of self-defense, and that gift is intelligence. And so when we remember who we are as human beings then we will know to use our intelligence intelligently. And I think that's what the next generation really needs to have. It isn't how much money we leave them or what kind of political system we leave them or any of the rest of that. It's the knowledge of who they are.
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